According to the USDA, the United States produced over six billion pounds of peanuts in 2016. Farmers are continuing to find new ways to increase peanut yields while using their resources in the most efficient manner. To celebrate National Peanut Day, we sat down with Bret, a Seed Applied Solutions Technology Development Manager at Monsanto, to discuss how microbials are impacting the peanut industry.
What are microbials?
Microbials are generally bacterial or fungal-based seed, furrow, or foliage applied to living organisms, either dormant in spores or free-living, as well as other compounds that are derived from these microbes.
Q: What is TagTeam® LCO and how does it benefit the development of peanuts?
TagTeam® LCO is a novel microbial furrow treatment for peanuts that combines three technologies, including microbes:
• A bacteria that colonizes the roots of the peanut and fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form that the crop needs.
• A fungus called Penicillium biliaie that also colonizes the roots of the crop and helps make bound nutrients like phosphorous and calcium available to the peanut plant.
• A novel bacteria -produced molecule (LCO) that helps initiate nodulation independent of environmental factors.
Products, such as this, that work synergistically have not been easy to develop. Today, with advanced technology, we can combine microbials that have the potential to start nodulation earlier, ensure better nutrient access, and reduce nitrogen needs for the crop in a very cost effective and sustainable way.
How has modern agriculture technology changed the way growers produce peanuts?
Growers can now combine an array of enhanced tools to manage their crops. They have better seeds, chemistry, weather prediction, equipment and crop monitoring technology such as drones. I think growers are also managing their crops more intensively and developing successful higher yielding strategies for their specific fields.
In your opinion, how will seed-applied products become further enhanced over the next decade?
In the future, new technology will play a role in seed applied products becoming further enhanced in a number of ways. Today, companies are looking to expand their chemistry portfolios and to bring new and better chemistries to markets. In addition, there is also a lot of work going on in the microbial space. Most of the testing in this space is focused on ensuring availability of costly fertility inputs. This testing isn't happening directly in peanut; however, microbes can be either specialists or generalists and generalists may have broad crop application that may benefit crops like peanut.